book review

Book Review – Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I’m a big fan of Anne Boleyn. I always viewed her as a champion of the people and a driving force for reformation. A lot of the history I’ve read about her painted her as a seductress, a whore, etc. And I always thought that history did her dirty, and when I looked into it a bit more, I was pretty much right. A lot of the historical material we have about her life come from the Spanish Ambassador, who was in no means a fan of hers (unsurprisingly), and biographies of others written after her death that essentially tried to place their own misdeeds on her.

I’m not saying that Hayley Nolan wrote the perfect biography, but she does her best to point out the inconsistencies in the histories all while showing you why everything you’ve ever read about Anne is probably wrong. She gives facts and interpretations that make the entire story make a whole lot more sense.

Her tone, at times, seems patronizing, almost to the tune of “I told you so” at times, but overall the book is incredibly readable. It gives a lot of good information with reasonable interpretations that don’t make you do mental gymnastics. While clearly biased, it really is probably one of the best Anne Boleyn biographies I’ve read, and I’ve read quite a few. At the very least, it was refreshing to read a biography that didn’t try to convince you that she was a scheming harlot. I’m sure that there was quite a bit of scheming involved in her lifetime, but I never got the impression that it was all malicious. That slant just never made sense to me.

Anyway, if you’re at all interested in Anne Boleyn or, more broadly, Tudor history, it’s worth a read, if only to get a taste of another way of looking at things.

That’s it for today. Stay safe, friends.

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